Quokka

(Setonix brachyurus)

The following information is taken from Beckerling, 2015, Ticked off: How karri forest logging threatens wildlife and the FSC Standard. Accessible here: (link to whole paper)

Please see the paper (link) for the references and further information.

Conservation status

Federal (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999): Vulnerable

State (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 WA): Vulnerable


Action Plan for Australian Mammals 2012: Vulnerable

Impacts of logging on the Quokka

Logging and associated activities have significant impacts on the southern forest Quokka population. Well-understood impacts are direct (mortality during clearing and construction of roads, road-kill from increased traffic and when refuges are burnt out) and indirect (increased predation through loss of protective vegetation and further fragmenting of habitat patches) (DEC 2013).

Approximately 60 per cent of Quokkas are recorded in state forest or timber reserves that are likely to be logged in the future (DEC 2013). The Recovery Plan says that as a result of the high proportion of the population in these areas, “timber harvesting and associated activities may be a significant threat.”

The Draft Recovery Plan 2010 explains the links between logging and the other known threats to the Quokka:

“Timber harvesting and associated activities (e.g. roading, silvicultural burns, etc), high intensity and/or high frequency fires, predation from introduced predators, changes to drainage patterns, habitat modification from feral pigs and spread of dieback (Phytophthora cinnamomi) have the potential to pose significant threats to quokka populations.” (de Tores et al. 2007)

“There is also a recognised potential for prescribed burns to be of a higher than intended intensity, often due to the high temperatures and the presence of logging debris, thus resulting in these riparian zones being completely burnt. Consequently, broad scale burning may not always lead to the desired mosaic of habitat patches.” (de Tores et al. 2007)

The Quokka is one of nine south-west fauna species that the Department of Environment and Conservation (now DPAW) has found is likely to require “additional management actions in relation to timber harvesting operations” (DEC 2008). The list is evidently incomplete as it does not include the Red-tailed and Baudin’s Cockatoos for example, but it does accept the threat posed by logging. The trivial changes implemented to date, such as changes to the design of informal reserve systems, are inadequate. The 2013 Recovery Plan and Federal Department of the Environment’s Species Profile and Threats Database describe the impacts of current logging operations.

Image credit: http://www.wowwilderness.com.au/